Against Moab thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Woe unto Nebo! for it is spoiled: Kiriathaim is confounded and taken: Misgab is confounded and dismayed.
The principle that underlies the text is this: that we require to be unsettled in life by many changes and interruptions of adversity, in order to be most effectually loosened from our own wills, and prepared to do the will and work of God.
I. How God manages, on a large scale, in the common matters of life, to keep us in a process of change, and prevent our lapsing into a state of security, such as we desire. Nature herself conspires to loosen all our calculations—meeting us with her frosts, her blastings, her droughts, her storms, her fevers; and forbidding us ever to be sure of that for which we labour. The very scheme of life appears to be itself a grand decanting process, where change follows change, and all are emptied from vessel to vessel.
II. The radical evil of human character, as being under sin, consists in a determination to have our own way; which determination must be somehow reduced and extirpated. Sin is but another name for self-direction. If we could stand on our lees, in continual peace and serenity—if success were made secure, subject to no change or surprise—what, on the other hand, should we do more certainly than stay by our evil mind, and take it as a matter of course that our will is to be done; the very thing above all others of which we most need to be cured?
III. Consider the fact that our evils are generally hidden from us till they are discovered to us by some kind of adversity. If God should let us be as Moab from our youth, then we should be as Moab in the loss of all valuable improvement.
IV. It is another point of advantage in the changes and surprises through which we are continually passing, that we are prepared, in this manner, for gracious and refining work of the Spirit in us.
V. Great quiet and security, long continued, are likely to allow the reaction or the recovered power of our old sins, and must not therefore be suffered. As the wine, standing on its dregs or lees contracts a taste from the lees, and must, therefore, be decanted or drawn off; so we, in like manner, need to be separated from everything appertaining to the former life, to be broken up in our expectations, and loosened from the affinities of our former habit.
H. Bushnell, The New Life, p. 392.
We may lay it down as a principle of universal application that a man needs to be frequently disturbed and displaced by the dispensations of God's providence, if he would grow in all the elements of that greatness which consists in holiness. To remain "at ease," to "settle on the lees," is fatal to spiritual advancement.
I. Consider what there is in these "emptyings" that fits them to promote our spiritual advancement. (1) It is obvious that such dispensations have in them an influence which is well calculated to reveal us to ourselves. It was a shrewd remark of Andrew Fuller, that "a man has only as much religion as he can command in the day of trial;" and if he have no religion at all, his trouble will make that manifest to him. (2) The frequent unsettlements which come upon us in God's providence have a tendency to shake us out of ourselves. The essence of sin is self-preference. We will take our own way rather than God's. We will make our own plans, as if only ourselves were to be consulted. Now, what a corrective to this idolatry of self is administered by these providential dispensations, which, coming as all such things do, unexpectedly, unsettle all our engagements, disarrange all our plans, and disappoint all our calculations. By many bitter failures we are made to acknowledge that "it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps," and then by the Spirit of God we are led up to confidence in Jehovah. (3) These frequent unsettlements have a tendency to keep us from being wedded to the world, or from thinking of rooting ourselves permanently here.
II. Notice the particular qualities of character which providential unsettlements are most calculated to foster. (1) Purity of motive and conduct. (2) Strength either for endurance or action. (3) Sympathy and charity.
W. M. Taylor, Limitations of Life, p. 358.
References: Jeremiah 48:11, Jeremiah 48:12.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii., No. 761. Jeremiah 48:28.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xi., p. 75. Jeremiah 49:8.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xviii., No. 1085. Jeremiah 49:23.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 253; J. B. Heard, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 241.
There shall be no more praise of Moab: in Heshbon they have devised evil against it; come, and let us cut it off from being a nation. Also thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen; the sword shall pursue thee.
A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim, spoiling and great destruction.
Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard.
For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction.
Flee, save your lives, and be like the heath in the wilderness.
For because thou hast trusted in thy works and in thy treasures, thou shalt also be taken: and Chemosh shall go forth into captivity with his priests and his princes together.
And the spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape: the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the LORD hath spoken.
Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein.
Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.
Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will send unto him wanderers, that shall cause him to wander, and shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles.
And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence.
How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war?
Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
The calamity of Moab is near to come, and his affliction hasteth fast.
All ye that are about him, bemoan him; and all ye that know his name, say, How is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod!
Thou daughter that dost inhabit Dibon, come down from thy glory, and sit in thirst; for the spoiler of Moab shall come upon thee, and he shall destroy thy strong holds.
O inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way, and espy; ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth, and say, What is done?
Moab is confounded; for it is broken down: howl and cry; tell ye it in Arnon, that Moab is spoiled,
And judgment is come upon the plain country; upon Holon, and upon Jahazah, and upon Mephaath,
And upon Dibon, and upon Nebo, and upon Bethdiblathaim,
And upon Kiriathaim, and upon Bethgamul, and upon Bethmeon,
And upon Kerioth, and upon Bozrah, and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near.
The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken, saith the LORD.
Make ye him drunken: for he magnified himself against the LORD: Moab also shall wallow in his vomit, and he also shall be in derision.
For was not Israel a derision unto thee? was he found among thieves? for since thou spakest of him, thou skippedst for joy.
O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth.
We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.
I know his wrath, saith the LORD; but it shall not be so; his lies shall not so effect it.
Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres.
O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer: thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer: the spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits and upon thy vintage.
And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.
From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as an heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate.
Moreover I will cause to cease in Moab, saith the LORD, him that offereth in the high places, and him that burneth incense to his gods.
Therefore mine heart shall sound for Moab like pipes, and mine heart shall sound like pipes for the men of Kirheres: because the riches that he hath gotten are perished.
For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth.
There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the LORD.
They shall howl, saying, How is it broken down! how hath Moab turned the back with shame! so shall Moab be a derision and a dismaying to all them about him.
For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.
Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised, and the mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD.
Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the LORD.
He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.
They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force: but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones.
Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives.
Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.